LAWRENCEVILLE — Local product Yosef Samuel scored the first goal in team history while Jon Gallagher netted two goals as Atlanta United 2 earned a 3-1 win over New York Red Bulls II in its inaugural match in front of 5,615 fans at Coolray Field in Lawrenceville on Saturday night.
“This group of players will always be part of the club’s history, in terms of being the group that got the first win for ATL UTD 2,” said head coach Scott Donnelly. “We’re proud to represent the club well and I’m proud of them. I thought they worked really hard, they laid it on the line when they had to.”
After a mostly quiet first half, Samuel opened the scoring in the 25th minute as winger Gallagher ran on to a ball down the left side and sent in a low cross. The ball deflected off a New York defender and into the air where Samuel acrobatically buried the loose ball into the back of the net with a scissor kick from his right foot.
Red Bulls II equalized just minutes later when Jared Stroud sent in a cross from the right flank toward the middle of the box. Uncontested, Brian White headed the ball past goalkeeper Alec Kann to even the score in the 32nd minute.
However, ATL UTD 2 would grab the lead back before the half when Gallagher earned a penalty after Jordan Scarlett took him down in the box in the 41st minute. The Irish forward calmly slotted the ball to the left while New York goalkeeper Evan Louro guessed to the right. ATL UTD 2 took a 2-1 lead into halftime.
Atlanta’s third and final goal of the night came early in the second half after Samuel whipped in a fierce cross from the right side which found Gallagher, who headed the ball into the net to set the score at 3-1 in the 52nd minute.
Each side had scoring opportunities throughout the second half, while Atlanta goalkeeper Alec Kann was called into action on several occasions down the stretch and made three saves on the night. However, the home side held on to earn its first victory.
ATL UTD 2 (1-0-0, 3 points) returns to action March 31 at Charlotte Independence at 7 p.m. The match will be streamed live on atlutd.com/2.